Tara Ramroop has laughed, cried, and commiserated with this amazing community from the start. She's been writing for as long as she can remember and riding Muni for more than a decade.
…that San Francisco is one of the worst cities in the country to do pretty much any transiting. Put it this way: no matter how you decide to get from Point A to Point B, whether by bus, streetcar, cab or regular car, it will take infinitely longer to do so than it would in most other major metropolitan areas.
Why was I in a cab at 9 a.m. on a Friday, you ask?
As Jeff posted earlier, the F line stopped on Market and dumped all its passengers near New Montgomery. This was due to an apparent power outage somewhere on the line. From what I could gather, given the clusterfuck around every trolley bus and streetcar, everyone on the line had to stop. This created a mass spillover into Market Street and surroundings, as people clamored for cabs and shoved their way into the already-full buses clunking past. I picked up a cab on Second near Market, and the fare jumped to almost $5 before hitting Market. For perspective, it cost roughly another $5 to get from Market to the very north end of town.
Aside from the F, the only Muni lines that I know go by my job are the 10-Townsend and the 39-Coit. Seeing as how neither of those was near me (not as far as I could tell), I had absolutely no idea how I could get to work without taking a cab. I tried looking at a system map on a bus shelter on Third Street…but couldn’t see through the ink-black graffiti covering almost everything.
In the event this complaint falls through the cracks (not that that would ever happen on Muni), I’m posting this letter I wrote to Muni HQ today:
I’d like to call Muni’s attention to a problem I don’t see too often, but do notice regularly. I’d also appreciate a timely explanation of why the incident I’m about to describe has to happen.
I ride the F-Market/Wharves almost every day to get to work near Pier 39. While I can forgive a crowded streetcar around peak commuter times, I don’t understand why, sometimes, passengers on an already moving, already crowded F streetcar are dumped on Market and told to take the next F streetcar that comes along.
Some of this post is F-centric, and some of it is just rants and raves about what should be basic common sense on public transit. It’s going to be pretty clear which is which.
Muni Diaries often complains about the F. I guess Muni Diaries complains about a good handful of things, but there are special problems inherent in the F that require extra-special complaints.
I don’t know how much it cost by its unveiling in 2000 to expand the F-Market line to the wharves, but I’m sure it was expensive. It appears to have been part of a continuing effort to revamp the rails and give tourists something cute to ride on. Nonetheless, I think the city underestimates how many people, regular SF residents, use it to get to work. We use it because there is NOTHING QUICKER. It’s so freakin’ cute. It emphazies local history and I love that to bits. But it is so inefficient and slow, it makes me and the other commuters want to rip our hair out as we all fight to get on the tiny, infrequent cars.
I actually like the fact that NextMuni exists. It gives me something to look at in a bus shelter rather than stare at the people in it, stare at the Muni map I’ve damn-near memorized, stare off into space, or stare at my cell phone photos or text messages to keep me entertained. It also helps prevent stepping out and looking for the bus (“Is it there now…now?…NOW??”), though I still do that if it’s one minute away and I don’t see one headed my way.
Though I hear some fairly positive reviews of it (and read a handful of fairly positive reviews of it on Yelp), I kind of hate NextMuni, an apparent adjunct of NextBus. I really want to know who is responsible for it, so I know who to complain to about their irritatingly inaccurate system.
I spent much of last Monday working at home. So, the first people I came into contact with all day were fellow 49 riders, headed north on Van Ness from the Mission, around 6 p.m. Needless to say (it was my own fault, goddamn me) I don’t recommend this to be your first, face-to-face interaction with the outside world.
Tale 1: There’s a woman on the bus with her tiny kid on her lap, and her baby paraphernalia, including a stroller, leaning on the seat next to her. I hate Seat Jabbas; you know – the people who take up enormous amounts of horizontal space, thanks to their bag, their computer, their food, etc. etc. etc. Yet, I can draw the distinction between unknowing/uncaring asshole, and a woman who clearly did not prefer Muni for whatever errand she was doing. We all love to hate cars, but this woman could probably use one.
In comes a crusty, probably not crazy but definitely pushy, woman who demands the mom take her stuff off the seat. Her reasoning? “You didn’t pay for all those seats.”
Thanks for doing more foot patrols. I am highly offended, though, that I’ve seen more police in Fisherman’s Wharf (for those gun-toting tourists?) than in some of the shittier, crime-ridden areas of town. Ross Mirkarimi is probably having a brain aneurysm as we speak.
It really wasn’t a huge deal until I saw three SF police chopping it up with some friendly old ladies from Where the Fuck Ever, then getting upset because my FastPass wasn’t visible when I came in through the back door, this one time on the F line. Those non-visible FastPasses are the real reason SF is anchored on the crime map these days, thanks for doing your part.
I get how police can’t be everywhere at once and how crime is sometimes very random. But there is a proven halo effect around police stations (and cops), so I’d appreciate seeing you more near those wackos in the Mission than near the fanny packs in Pier 39.
Your friend (taxpaying citizen),